What is the formal name of the @ sign?
I've not been able to find a solid answer.
Its origin is French; imagine writing 'à' (the French for "at") without removing your pen from the paper. The end of the a would continue around to the grave accent. Then, the calligrapher added a swash around the whole à. There are many other ligatures (if one can call a joined letter and an accent a ligature) like this. Consider the ß, the ff, fi, fl, ffi and ffl. Some founts even include ct and swash versions of various lower-case letters used for the ends of words.
In Dutch, who also use à or @ for at it's called the monkey's tail or apestaart; staart being the Dutch for tail.
And yes, I also know of a certain librarian who'd be offended by being classified as a monkey.
Finally, since nobody's mentioned §, I know you'll be along later to ask about it
It's called the section sign or mark, though in some European languages (German, for instance) denotes a paragraph.
[This message was edited by the_bear on Tue Jul 29th, 2003 at 5:23.]
I just checked the site cited by The Bear and found this: Important buying restriction
Adobe software products may not be acquired by nationals of certain
countries or by certain individuals regardless of nationality.
What in bloody blue blazes is THAT all about?
Well, it worked all right here, again.
I haven't got a clue, honestly.
The US government prohibits the export of software to certain countries. From Adobe's Terms and Conditions:
That really is rather unsettling.
In reference to wordcrafter's question, I'm easy; I've always called it an "at sign"!
Look around you, for goodness' sake!
You have more access to the US mind-set than I. Do you not know what you're a party to? I've got loads of US friends who WANT to live in the EU, because they're afraid.
I stumbled on a site whose readers gave these various answers:
English: ampersat (I'm dubious)
Spanish: arroba in Spanish.
German: klammeraffe (spider monkey)
Dutch: apestaartje (little monkey tail)
Russian: sobachka (little dog)
Greek: papaki (little duck)
Danish: grisehale (pig's tail)
"Some European languages": snail
and, said one: According to the international standard of character sets it is called "at" or "commercial at". It has a long history and was used over 500 years ago by Florentine merchants in their records for either a unit of weight or volume representing one amphora. In Northern Europe it came to be known as "at the price of". It was chosen by Ray Tomilson in 1972 as the separator in e-mail addresses.
PS: I see that Julian Burnside discussed this.
[This message was edited by wordnerd on Tue Jul 29th, 2003 at 19:48.]
The OED Online (Dec. 2000 entry):
commercial at = commercial A.
1969 V. CERF Request for Comments (Network Working Group) (Electronic Text) No. 20. 5 (table) Symbol..@... Name..*Commercial At. 1996 Independent 22 Jan. (Suppl.) 11/1 Diligent research..uncovered the fact that printers call it the ‘commercial at’.
The Free Online Dictionary of Computing (http://foldoc.doc.ic.ac.uk/):
<character> "@". ASCII code 64. Common names: at sign, at, strudel. Rare: each, vortex, whorl, INTERCAL: whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape, cat, rose, cabbage, amphora. ITU-T: commercial at.
The @ sign is used in an electronic mail address to separate the local part from the hostname.
It is ironic that @ has become a trendy mark of Internet awareness since it is a very old symbol, derived from the latin preposition "ad" (at).
Giorgio Stabile, a professor of history in Rome, has traced the symbol back to the Italian Renaissance in a Roman mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on 1536-05-04.
In Dutch it is called "apestaartje" (little ape-tail). The French name is "arobase". In Spain and Portugal it denotes a weight of about 25 pounds, the weight and the symbol are called "arroba". Italians call it "chiocciola" (snail).
(You can find the same entry on hyperdictionary.
This entry says the symbol is very old and was derived from the Latin preposition "ad", but doesn't say how old or explain how it was derived. Anybody know or have a hunch?
I looked up strudel in Oxford Reference Online and found out it means "whirlpool" in German [The Concise Oxford-Duden German Dictionary (German-English)]
[This message was edited by tinman on Tue Jul 29th, 2003 at 20:20.]
quote:I believe I do, Bear, and it isn't quite as bad as you seem to think. There are some radicals on each side of the median, which I don't believe is that different from any other country. Unfortunately we Americans tend to publicize our problems/weaknesses more than other countries. After all, it was an American who brought up the subject in the first place.
One of the problems is that the USA, in the form of its government is a bully! It is particularly unfortunate since the American people are, in my own experience, the most generous and friendly souls on earth. However, it is by its government that others know a country and the USA is heartily disliked by much of the world because of its government's arrogant attitude towards, and despicable treatment of, so many other states.
It bullies such inoffensive countries as Cuba and many of the Arab states simply because it doesn't care for their governments' policies. And because the USA is now the world's most powerful country by far, it is able to impose its will on others both financially and by force of arms and is all too happy so to do.
Cuba (and I have been there and know that of which I speak) is a wonderful country and, during my time there, never heard anyone speak ill of the US (or, indeed, anywhere else). However, people there are living in poverty mainly because of the US trade embargo - which, don't forget, is not just an embargo on trade with the USA. Any country that trades with Cuba is not allowed to trade with the USA. It is a very powerful threat.
Fortunately there are countries, my own amongst them, who do not allow themselves to be bullied by Uncle Sam and it is through the tourist and other trade with the likes of us that the Cubans can even survive.
The downloading of software is just another example of the US govenment's bully-boy tactics. It can threaten US software companies, like Adobe, and try to prevent their distributing software to "enemy" states. Fortunately for freedom, this restriction is quite impossible for them to police since any country (such as the UK) can download the software and then send it wherever they like.
I was with you right up until that point...
Non curo ! Si metrum no habet, non est poema.
Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
Maybe I should have said, "...don't always allow themselves to be bullied..."!
This thread is a case in point for what I was referring to earlier.
I am not sure how to respond while, at the same time, trying not to have a cross-continental squabble here. However, I do disagree that this is America's way in general. It does depend on the administration, and I have made my dislike of the current administration quite public. I am surely going to work to oust the current president and to elect a better one. However, I sense that you aren't talking current administration here, but the U.S. in general for the past several years. Therein I would disagree and point out the many ways in which our country has served the world with humanitarian relief, governmentally & privately and financially & manpowerly (made-up word, I know; but it sounds so good! ) As I write this my son is applying to the Peace Corps to work in service for 2 years, rather than to work for a nice salary. That is definitely very common here.
Having said all that, I also admire many countries throughout the world--especially the U.K. I do not come from the mindset, at all, that we have the only country--or the best country--in which to live.
[This message was edited by Kalleh on Wed Jul 30th, 2003 at 12:20.]
I have to agree with Richard that the USA has become a great bully. It is most obvious under our current Bush league government, but it has been so for a long time.
In the 1970s an international boycott was organized against Nestle company for their questionable practices in peddling their baby formula in third world countries. People in these countries typically breast-fed babies, but Nestle heavily advertised that its formula was superior to breast milk. They succeeded in convincing mothers in these countries to buy their expensive formula. The formula had to be combined with clean water in exact proportions to make it usable. Because it was so expensive, these young mothers often over-diluted it to the point where it was worthless. And, of course, the water was generally polluted. By contrast, Mother's milk needs no dilution. The first milk after birth contains colostrum, which contains antibodies and minerals to help protect the infants. So Nestle was deliberately endangering the lives of thousands (millions?) of Third World infants in the name of private enterprise. The World Health Organization condemned this practice, as well as many nations of the world. But what did our government, the good old USA say? "We can't interfere with private enterprise."
The boycott was called off when Nestle promised to change its ways, but was reinstated when it became clear that Nestle had no intention to honor its promise. Why should it sacrifice some of its profits to protect the health of babies and help to ease misery in Third World countries? This page explains the current boycott and lists some of the products that Nestle produces (though I can't vouch for its accuracy). If you buy Kit Kat candy bars, you support Nestle. I try not to buy anything they make. I just discovered, to my horror, that they make the cat food I buy. Time for a change.
Have you heard of the Banana Wars? The EU had an agreement (since 1975) with former European colonies to buy bananas from them. These poor Caribbean nations depended on this trade for a large part of their income. But the good old USA decided that the EU was violating WTO rules by not buying their bananas from American companies in Latin American countries. American greed once again triumphs!
Remember when things made in Japan were junk and American products were considered high quality? Something happened in the late '60s and throughout the '70s: the quality of Japanese products increased as the quality of American products deteriorated. This was most evident (to me, at least) in cars. Japanese cars from the early '60s were so-so, but by the end of the '60s they were as good as or better than most American cars. The quality of Japanese cars continued to increase throughout the '70s, '80s, while the USA car quality continued to slide. What did the American car manufacturers do? Did they improve the quality of their cars? No. They just whined about the "balance of trade" and started a "Buy American" campaign. They insinuated that to buy a foreign car was unpatriotic. We were susposed to buy American cars simply because they were American, not because they were better. And the car manufacturers whined to the government that the Japanese wouldn't buy their cars, so the USA should put a tariff on japanese cars until they started buying American cars.
The Japanese drive on the left side of the road, so they have right-hand drive vehicles. But vehicles they manufacture for export to countries where people drive on the right side of the road are equipped with left-hand drives. They built cars for their anticipated market. USA manufacturers, on the other hand, continued to equip their vehicles with left-hand drives, even those destined to be exported to countries, such as Japan, where they drive on the right side of the road. They expected the Japanese people to buy cars with left-hand drives! It wasn't until 1992 that they began to manufacture right-hand drive vehicles for export.
This is an example of American business and the American government acting with arrorance and bullying. They tried to bully the Japanese into buying inferior cars with left-hand drives, and at the same time they tried to bully the American people into buying their cars by calling them un-American and unpatriotic if they didn't.
The USA is forever refusing to pay their UN dues unless they get their way. Foreign aid is dependent on the receiving country capitulating to our demands. The USA government is not charitable to other countries out of the goodness of its heart.
About 5,000 Iraqis a month died during the USA-imposed economic tariff.
Bush backed out of the Kyoto Agreement because "the American economy comes first". The American economy is more important than the health and welfare of any other country. Indeed, it is more important than the health and welfare of the American public. What arrogance!
The USA has a history of bullying other countries and Americans as well. I've presented just a few of myriad examples of American arrogance, greed and bullying. Bush is our bully in chief.
As Lord Acton said, "power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely". We're well on our way.
[This message was edited by tinman on Thu Jul 31st, 2003 at 2:23.]
And lest it should be thought that my posting is in any way "anti-American" let say that I have met many Americans, both in the USA and in other countries and, almost without exception, have found them to be the most mannerly and helpful people is has been my pleasure to meet.
It is just so sad that in most of the world the USA is hated, or at least mistrusted, and it is not the 200 million Americans who are to blame, just the US government's policies.
And just to pick up Kalleh's point about the good the USA does in the world. It is perfectly true that there is much that the USA does that is good; sadly most countries, like most people, are judged more by their transgressions than by their good works.
(Going back to a less contentious and more linguistic subject. )
Out of respect for this board, I will refrain from answering here. Yet, I am sitting here with a muzzled mouth and my hands tied behind my back!
However, my healthcare background forces me to at least speak out about breastfeeding. I heartily agree with Tinman that it is ethically imperative for all nations to support breastfeeding.
[This message was edited by Kalleh on Thu Jul 31st, 2003 at 14:38.]
I heartily agree with Tinman that it is ethically imperative for all nations
to support breastfeeding.
I'll demur here. It is ethically imperative for all countries, including the USA, to promote birth control, so they won't have to promote breast feeding an insanely burgeoning population.
Asa @his sopabox
Thank you, Kalleh. I think you'll enjoy this poster.
Oh, I love it!
Tinman, are you sure you're not a professor? I think you must have been in a past life!